Essential features for your manufacturing CRM

Before generating a wish-list of features for your manufacturing CRM, you need to take a step back and look at broad business objectives. What problems are you looking to solve? Do you need more sales? Are you wasting a lot of time quoting? Perhaps your competitors are developing better products?

Once you’ve distilled your pain points and the key improvements you need, it’s time to start considering how a new CRM can help. With the proliferation of CRM vendors and the relatively low cost to build custom software, you have very few limits in what’s possible when developing your manufacturing CRM.

Once you’ve built a list of what you want the CRM to deliver, the next step is building a set of requirements. From here, you can build a team to ensure you select the best CRM for your business, before finally approaching the companies that are the best fit for you. Below are some of the best CRM features for a manufacturing business; the feature-set is only limited by your imagination, but here are some key areas where a CRM can be invaluable.

Check out our free CRM features and requirements guide

Forecasting for Production

Having a clear view on your past sales performance and current pipeline will help focus your production efforts. Maybe sales of your speciality lamps are slowly declining or you have a large customer who is in the late stages of negotiating a significant order - having this information available can inform what your production team work on. This can drive your team to work on the most leveraged products.

Collaboration

A well designed CRM will capture information useful to sales, production, and management which should improve collaboration and aid better decision making. For example, if the sales team have had a conversation with a key account about improvements the customer would like, these details can be added to the CRM and noted up for the head of production. Without the CRM capturing and recording all of these snippets of information they normally get lost in the day-to-day running of the business.

Better Leads for Sales

A good CRM should streamline your sales process. Capturing your prospects, sales funnel, and meetings will help you maximize your sales performance. By having a CRM which covers marketing automation and sales you’ll ensure that the right leads are being worked through your sales funnel. For manufacturers, spending time evaluating the different routes to market and then methodically working on those sales prospects is key to maximizing sales and revenue. If you have a small number of large potential customers then the CRM should help track those long sales cycles.

Follow Ups

Efficiency is essential to sales team performance, with an average US sales rep working on 94.4 activities per day leading to 14.1 meaningful conversations. Ensuring that sales reps are working on the most leveraged activities is crucial. A good CRM should set clear goals for sales reps and allow them to work on activities that help them achieve those goals.

To produce winning products and effectively bring them to market, a CRM is vital. Manufacturers are quick to spend money on technology to improve their manufacturing process but often slower to see the value in data.  A good manufacturing CRM will focus your sales efforts and can feed back into production – don’t neglect this excellent source of value for your business.

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Doug Haines

About the author…

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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Doug Haines

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